Notices

Driving in Italy

Reply

May 16th, 2016, 03:00 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Driving in Italy

Hello!

Im flying into Milan July 16th, renting a car and driving to Portofino (where parking is provided at our hotel) then July 19th driving to Arrezo until the 24th then driving to Prato.

Is a car the best option for this kind of travel? Or should we figure out a better option?

Thank you!
ErikaW33 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2016, 04:11 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 64
I've been to Italy six times in the last five years—usually for six-to-ten weeks at a time. I've rented a car three times—once for the entire time, and two other times for a few days only. I prefer the train because it's inexpensive, easy, and more relaxing. Just to give you an idea, last year, I went from Milan to Rome; Rome to Sulmona; Sulmona to Bologna (where I stayed a few weeks); Bologna to Venice, Florence, Verona, Ravenna, Faenza, etc.; Bologna to the Cinque Terre; CT to Pisa; Pisa back to Rome.

I buy tickets directly from trenitalia. If you are not using a regional train, you can get tickets early, and they are very inexpensive. I'll be there in September, and I just bought a Bologna-Rome ticket for 9 euro.

I love the trains.
Chris_Cutler is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2016, 06:07 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Thank you Chris. I noticed the travel time by train is double than driving in the car. Is that correct? (Im looking on google maps) Like they say from Milan Airport to Genoa by car is 2hours 12min and train is 4hrs 3mins... i guess because you have to stop in different cities. We are older and would like the convince of the car - and not have to lug the luggage around - I guess my question is - is navigating the roads difficult and is the traffic horrible etc....
ErikaW33 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2016, 07:09 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,762
I have found Google's drive time estimates to be optimistic. I always add 10-15 minutes to every hour estimated. Driving to/from Portofino in high season summer, I would add more time.

I haven't driven into Arezzo or Prato, but I would be very surprised if they didn't both have a ZTL. You should investigate and found out if your hotels are inside the zone. If they are, you need to find out how to reach the hotels without violating the zone and/or avoid getting a ticket.

One advantage of trains is that they carry you from city center to city center which might not always be easier or faster done by car.

Did you plan on exploring other towns along the way? You'll likely encounter ZTLs anywhere you go, so learn what signs to look for.

You'll need an International Driver's Permit.
Jean is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2016, 07:15 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,762
The estimate of your drive from Malpensa to Portofino should include the time spent going through the car rental process. All things considered, I think the drive time and train time would be very close.

But loading luggage into a car is easier than carrying it onto a train.
Jean is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2016, 10:22 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,499
I suspect you have not come to terms with the severity of fines associated with traffic infractions in Italy. For example, read this: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...what-to-do.cfm

You are looking at car/not car, from traffic, navigation, and timing point of view. These issues exists, but the peculiarity of driving in Italy is the ZTL, whose existence seems to be foreign to so many people that they are incredulous when they got hit with breathtaking fines many months after they return home from infractions they did not imagine existed. You can do a search on this forum and on google for "ZTL". Spend a good time understanding the nature and prevalence of this restriction. Many assume that they would notice such restrictions and would know to avoid them. You can decide if this is the case by reading posting by those who got snagged by this.
greg is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2016, 01:16 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,128
If by chance you are arriving in Milan after a long-haul flight, I would strongly recommend you re-think hopping in a rental car and driving 2-3 hours. Dangerous for you and everyone else on the road.
StCirq is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2016, 04:32 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 19,737
Are you thinking of renting the car just to go from point to point, or do you plan to use it for sightseeing during your stay? If it's just point to point, the train probably will work better for you. Your post doesn't indicate what you plan to do at each stop.

I've driven a fair amount of time in Italy without problems, but I haven't made the specific drive you're talking about.

I don't agree that the drive time and train time will be similar, even including the time you spend getting the rental car. I mean, if one takes the train for a scheduled 5-hour trip, does anyone think that it's actually 5 hours from the time you step off the plane to your arrival at the destination? There are extra-time factors built into every mode of travel. To mention one without mentioning the others gives a distorted picture.

As noted above, you should do some research on ZTLs and whether you're likely to encounter them. If you are, that's an especially strong argument for taking the train if you're just doing point to point.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2016, 05:10 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,060
Your proposed itinerary is one where it's not easy to decide between car and train. The drives are not terrible, the cities are not very large, and there are some nice possibilities of stops along the way. I don't think there's a train station very near Portofino; I believe the closest train station is in Rapallo. Arezzo is a small city, where we've parked several times with no problem (outside the walls, though). I'm not as familiar with Prato, but if you find out that it's a problem, you could always ditch the car in Florence and take the train to Prato.

I think that in this case, I'd rent the car. I agree that you might not want to drive after a transatlantic flight, though.
bvlenci is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2016, 10:20 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,083
There's a train station in Santa Margherita Ligure. That's pretty close to Portofino. But I don't know how many trains serve it.
Mimar is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2016, 10:34 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 19,737
There is a station in SML. I think you would have to take a bus from there to Portofino.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2016, 11:26 AM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Great advice thank you!

I think the car is the way to go for what we are trying to do - Maybe we'll do and air BnB for the night btwn Milan and Portofino so we don't have to do the full 3hours getting there in one shot.
ErikaW33 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:37 AM.